Happy Day After Christmas!
I really don’t know where to start.
First, I hope that all of you had a wonderful Christmas Day. I know we did.
I had a whole range of posts prepared in my head to fill the week, but things got crazy. I had taken Mr PugRunner to the Bahamas as an early 40th birthday present. His birthday in on January 1 and it’s very easy for him to get lost in the holiday shuffle. We have been having little parties here at the house with a few friends, but after last year, when he ended up getting a speeding ticket and our friends showed up to find our downstairs toilet with the plumber on our front lawn (to this day we have no idea what was clogging it), I decided it was time to change things up to make it extra special.
We got an amazing deal on hotel and airfare to Atlantis. We had visited the Bahamas about eight years ago and it was not the best time. We stayed in a Radisson on Cable Beach and I ended up with a wicked case of food poisoning. The hotel was pretty awful as far as service and maintenance and so I vowed that I would only go back if we got to stay on Paradise Island. Fortunately, the stars aligned, and we were able to make it happen (hugely in part to my parents, who were going to be in town and were more than happy to babysit for us while we were gone).
The plan was to be back on December 22, giving us more than enough time to bake cookies, wrap presents, finish last minute shopping and take a breather from travel. You know what they say about the best laid plans, though.
We arrived at the airport on Sunday, with plenty of time to go before our 4:35 flight back to the states. We checked in, cleared security and customs and made our way to the airport bar to watch some of the Dolphins game and wait for our boarding call.
All was well until we backed away from the gate. We were next in line to take off when the pilot announced that there was a maintenance issue and we would have to return to the gate. I’m a bad, nervous, anxious flyer, and this made me sick to my stomach. The crew opened the door and the next thing I knew, a passenger was marching up the aisle, saying she was not flying on this plane and that she wanted her bag from the cargo area. I had a bad, bad feeling, and I was almost relieved when, about an hour later, they asked everyone to deplane so we could be more comfortable as they worked.
And, while I wanted to get home, I was even more relieved when the crew broke the news that we would not be flying anywhere on the plane in question.
Not everyone agreed. Passengers were angry and frustrated and annoyed. The gate agents worked frantically to create a game plan, but the news was not great. Not only were there no planes available that night (it was about 10:00 pm and the airport was closed), everything flying into our airport of departure (where our car was parked, and which was two hours from home), was booked until late Christmas Eve. We did have an option of flying the next day into an airport three hours south of our original airport and then finding ground transportation to our car, and in the meantime, the airline would continue working on getting an additional plane added to the route to accommodate us. We figured that getting back into the country was half the battle, so we took the deal.
After getting rebooked, security escorted a group of about 20 of us through the bowels of the airport to collect our suitcases and transportation and hotel vouchers. The airline was providing taxis and busses to and from a hotel, $100 in meals, as well as a night’s accommodation. We snagged a cab with a lovely older couple and traveled to the designated hotel.
Which, ironically, was the hotel where Mr PugRunner and I had stayed eight years ago. Only under new management.
Darn the luck.
I won’t complain. The room was fine, the shower worked, and the staff was lovely. We were careful to only eat at Starbucks (we just needed to grab breakfast), just in case. And while I would never opt to stay there on a vacation, it was fine.
After a somewhat restless night, Mr PugRunner got up early to try to call the airline from the lobby to see if there were any other options for us. Luck was with us. A new plane had been commissioned to fly us to our original airport, and we raced back to the airport to ensure we could get booked on that flight.
It was a long day in the airport. The report from home was that little man was pretty upset that we weren’t there and we were so anxious to get home to him. Agonizingly, the plane was late, and then had to be fueled and gone over with a fine tooth comb, so we took off about 90 minutes after planned, but finally, we were on the ground in the States and ready to drive home.
Needless to say, it was a wonderful homecoming, but a pretty busy and stressful Christmas Eve. And I am still trying to get back on track with everything that I meant to get done on Monday and Tuesday. It’s probably going to take a few days, so please bear with me. I can’t wait to share with you highlights from our amazing tropical getaway, as well as how I did with running on vacation, Christmas and my first experience volunteering at a race.
Have you ever had a horrible vacation experience? Did you ever get stuck somewhere while away from home?
How do you do with flying?